PHOENIX — It wasn’t pretty, but Team USA is moving on to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals.
Mike Trout tripled and drove in three runs, the bullpen combined for six scoreless innings and Team USA hung on to beat Colombia, 3-2, in the Pool C finale on Wednesday. Team USA finished 3-1 and in second place in the pool to advance to the quarterfinals. They will face Venezuela in Miami on Saturday.
For the third time in four games, Team USA’s vaunted lineup scuffled and its defense left plays unmade. Facing a Colombia team that was beaten by both Canada and Great Britain, Team USA fell behind early and never managed to pull away.
Still, Trout did enough to lift Team USA to victory. The Angels star set the tone early by driving a triple into the right-center gap just two batters into the game. After his teammates stranded him on third, Trout took it upon himself to get Team USA on the board.
Trout drilled an RBI single to score Mookie Betts from second base in his next at-bat to stake Team USA to a 1-0 lead. Colombia responded immediately in the bottom of the third, taking the lead on a Gio Urshela sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Reynaldo Rodriguez.
That’s where the score remained until Trout stepped back up to the plate in the fifth. With runners on second and third and one out, Trout lifted a single into left field to bring both runners home and put back Team USA back in front, 3-2.
Team USA’s bullpen held it from there. After Colombia jumped on USA starter Merrill Kelly for four hits and two runs in three innings, Kendall Graveman, Daniel Bard, David Bednar, Jason Adam, Devin Williams and Ryan Pressly combined to pitch six scoreless innings with two hits allowed, one walk and nine strikeouts. The effort bought time for Team USA to take the lead, and once they had it, the bullpen never let Colombia get close to taking it back.
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